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Fetishism and social creativity, or fetishes are gods in process of construction

Graeber, David (2005) Fetishism and social creativity, or fetishes are gods in process of construction. Anthropological Theory, 5 (4). pp. 407-438. ISSN 1463-4996

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1463499605059230


Originally, the term ‘fetishes’ was used by European merchants to refer to objects employed in West Africa to make and enforce agreements, often between people with almost nothing in common. They thus provide an interesting window on the problem of social creativity - especially since in classic Marxist terms they were surprisingly little fetishized. Starting with an appreciation and critique of William Pietz’s classic work on the subject, and reconsidering classic cases of Tiv spheres of exchange and BaKongo sculpture, this article aims to reimagine African fetishes, and fetishes in general, as ways of creating new social relations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2005 SAGE Publications
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2013 08:20
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:42

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